Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"I need my job, but I don't want to be intimidated, so I'm speaking up for everybody."

Boss takes office politics to a new level


Courtney Zubowski
KHOU-TV (11 News Houston)
Copyright 2008

SEABROOK, Texas -- A couple from Seabrook said they usually get a box full of mail every day. But last Thursday, a piece of mail delivered some advice they didn't ask for.

"It was pretty much intimidating," said the couple. "It was trying to tell me to vote for the people he voted for."

The letter was from the chairman of the board at the Zachry Construction Corporation. It was addressed to employees and friends.

The man who got the letter said he's an employee.

"I need my job, but I don't want to be intimidated, so I'm speaking up for everybody," said the man.

In the letter, Bartell Zachry wrote that he wanted to share his thoughts on some important contested races.

It read: "You do not need my suggestions about the presidential race, but I do believe in deeds not words, experiences not promises.”

Zachry also shared his thoughts on other candidates. But according to the company's spokesperson, the advice in the letter is not something employees should feel obligated to follow.

"This certainly is not meant to be an intimidation piece. It's merely informative through Mr. Zachry's PAC. He doesn't have the time or inclination to go and check and see who voted," said the company’s spokesperson.

11 news legal expert Dr. Gerald Treece said the letter is perfectly legal, but it may open the door for lawsuits against the company down the road.

“It's hard to convince people that the reason they didn't have a job action against them was some reason unrelated to this election. I didn't say it's real. I said it's perceived. I didn't say the boss would lose. I just said he has to deal with it. If he hadn't written this letter, he wouldn't have to deal with that issue," said Treece.

Treece said the letter is nothing more than a man expressing his First Amendment rights.

© 2008 KHOU-TV, Inc.: www.khou.com

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